Sena has a new series of motorcycle communicators on the market, running entirely on the company’s Mesh 2.0 networking system.
The new Spider RT1 and ST1 don’t look very different from previous Sena units; they’re designed to clamp onto your helmet, with wires run to internal speakers and a boom mic. The RT1 has a three-button interface, and the ST1 uses Sena’s jog dial system to adjust volume and other settings.
However, these helmet comms are different on the inside—they’re not made to connect to other comm sets via Bluetooth. Instead, they use Sena’s Mesh 2.0 wireless technology, which is supposed to offer superior audio quality (there’s still Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity to phones and other devices, though).
The new comms come with Group Mesh and Multi-Channel Open Mesh modes. In Group Mesh, the users set up a private group, which can accept up to 24 riders. Using Sena’s “hopping” technology to daisy-chain the comms together, Group Mesh allows riders to communicate over a distance of 8 kilometres, as long as there are a minimum of six riders at 1.6-km intervals. Realistically speaking, those distances are probably shortened in real-world conditions.
Group Mesh is what you’d use for privacy and control of your comms—it’s like setting up your own network, only letting in those who you accept. If you just want to talk to whoever is in range, you’d select Multi-Channel Open Mesh. This option allows riders to communicate with anyone else within a range of 8 kilometres, as long as they’re on the Mesh 2.0 network. Think of a limited-range version of an old-school CB system.
There are nine different frequencies in the Open Mesh system, allowing riders to have conversations with separate groups of riders within the Mesh 2.0 network. Say you’re on a group ride—ride leaders could set up their own network, and also slide into a network that included everyone on the ride.
Riders can control the network settings with Sena’s accompanying smartphone app, available for iOS or Android phones.
Because it’s designed for Mesh 2.0 networks, the new Spider comm set is only backwards-compatible with other Senas running that technology. That includes 50S, 50R, 30K, and Momentum EVO comm sets. It will also work with older Sena Bluetooth devices if they’re synced via the +Mesh Adapter.
The new Spider ST1 and RT1 both have around 11 hours of talk time, and fast-charge in 90 minutes. They have HD speakers included as stock, but riders can use their own 3.5 mm earphones if they wish, with a jack built into the unit.
US pricing for the new Sena systems is $199 for either the ST1 or RT1. Expect the systems to cost between $250 and $300 apiece in Canada.